Recent Deals – 21 March 2023

Farms turned into unstoppable carbon-leeches; 95% recycled solar panel material; and satellite services to prevent space from becoming an enormous bin; Recent Deals worth looking at:

Agriculture & Food

Andes (2018) is turning farmlands into carbon leeches through its microbial products that capture carbon dioxide and convert it into minerals and other plant nutrients within the soil. The microorganisms grow within the plant roots and offer benefits beyond carbon removal to water permeability, aeration, and the overall availability of long-lasting soil nutrients for healthier crops. Still, everything is made better by the fact that this carbon removal solution is safe, permanent, and scalable by allowing all farmland to be leveraged into carbon-sucking machines. Not to worry, this brilliance has some numbers to back it up. Andes has removed over 50,000 tonnes of CO2 to date with its technology.

The startup has raised $15M in Series A funding from Voyager Ventures and Yamaha Motor Ventures. The capital will go towards its goals to expand its presence within the United States and to launch into South American markets. Some of the funding will also be directed towards continuing its research and development around what has been termed ‘permanent carbon capture technologies’.


Energy & Power

ClearFlame Engine Technologies (2016) has developed a clean combustion engine technology that uses decarbonized liquid fuels. This technology provides a win-win business solution, by allowing heavy-duty engine manufacturers to use renewable fuels which maintain efficiency by keeping to the same power point, while reducing 35,000 pounds of carbon emissions.

ClearFlame Engine has secured $30M in a recent Series B round led by Mercuria Energy Group with participants from Rio Tinto, WIND Ventures, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures. The fresh capital will be used to explore the role that its technology can play in agriculture, mining, and power generation sectors, with a specific focus on penetrating the agriculture-technology market. Further, the funds will be used to move its technology from patent to pilot by launching a long-haul trucking pilot project. Over the upcoming years, ClearFlame aims to set itself up within the $200B global trucking market having already accessed some of the largest fleet operators in North America.

Materials & Chemicals

Airex Energy (2014) has developed biomass torrefaction systems to produce value-added carbonized products, specifically biochar, biocarbon and biocoal. These applications are sought-after by key industry players, with biochar used to sequester ground-based carbon, biocarbon used for green steel production alongside other metals, and biocoal used as a coal replacement fuel.

The company has raised $38M in its recent Series B round led by Cycle Capital, with participation from Investissement Québec, Desjardins-Innovatech, and Export, Development Canada (EDC). This funding round will be instrumental in fast-tracking its growth plans, including boosting biochar production in Europe and North America by 2035 through its partnership with Suez. Further initiatives include continuing to improve its technology and finalising the close of its agreement in Quebec for biocarbon and in Asia with its biocoal sector.

Resources & Environment

SolarCycle (2022) is contributing to the world’s renewable energy transition by creating an end-of-life technology and service which can recover 95% of materials from outdated solar panels so that they can be turned into resources for new panels. The startup has scored $30M in its Series A funding round led by led by Fifth Wall and HG Ventures with participation from Prologis Ventures, Urban Innovation Fund, and Closed Loop Partners.

This recent Series A will be instrumental in advancing its technology and boosting its solar panel recycling capacity, developing long-standing partnerships, and growing alongside industry leaders. The new round has put its total funding at $37M since its inception a year ago, within which time SolarCycle also set up strong customer partnerships with major solar companies in the United States, including Sunrun, Silicon Ranch, SOLV Energy, Nova Source and Forum Energy Partners. The company has set an overarching goal to become a key player in the recycling infrastructure industry, both within the Unites States and beyond.

Transportation & Logistics

Envisics (2018) has designed a dynamic holography platform for enhanced vehicle dashboards which leverages intelligent computer systems and artificial reality elements to enhance driving experiences. The technology enables advanced Augmented Reality Head-Up Displays (AR HUD) which tackle the challenge of reducing road-distraction and accidents while being 50% more energy efficient than conventional Head up Displays (HUDs). With HDUs being essential to the automotive industry in this age of electric vehicles, these HDUs have key components of high-quality resolution, they are 40% smaller and are energy efficient — critical to the industry.

Envisics has raised $50M in a Series C round led by Hyundai Mobis with participation from InMotion Ventures, Tarsadia Capital, Van Tyl Group, SAIC Motor, General Motors Ventures and Stellantis. The capital will become the runway for Envisics to reach its commercialisation potential by plugging it into accelerating its product development and delivery timeline.

Enabling Technologies

Starfish Space (2019) is changing the satellite game by making sure that malfunctioning satellites are not marked off but instead they get to serve a full term by providing in-space transportation and maintenance service for orbiting satellites. The waste game in space will end up matching the waste game on Earth if we don’t step up with our caretaking responsibilities. Starfish is providing a proximity operations software which uses orbital mechanics and a low-thrust electric propulsion system to conduct satellite servicing emissions to relocate, de-orbit or extend the life of satellites instead of letting useful metal end up floating in space uselessly.

The company has secured $14M in Series A funding in a round led by Munich Re Ventures and with participation from Toyota Ventures, PSL Ventures, NFX and MaC Venture Capital. The funds will be used to support its team expansion, aiming to add 10-15 people to its workforce of 27 before the year ends. Next, a portion of the funding will be used to accelerate Starfish’s development of ‘Otter’, a servicing vehicle for a demonstration named the ‘Otter pup’. In the mission, the Otter pup will hitch a ride onto a Launcher Orbiter 3 space tug. Once in orbit it will deploy from Orbiter and aim to rendezvous and dock with the space craft in low orbit.  This mission should take place this summer.